Iceland has had a moment — but the attention brought by the likes of “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” and Justin Bieber has had consequences.
It’s hard to think of somewhere that’s been a more “it”
destination in the past decade than Iceland.
There are concerns, however, about the environmental impact
of the increase in tourism, impact on quality of life for locals,
and whether the tourism boom is a
bubble that could burst.
This could lead to serious economic challenges in a country with
360,000 people – issues that local outlets like the
Grapevine have covered extensively. To boot, attractions like
the Blue Lagoon
have been deemed overrated by some.
Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos are seemingly made for Instagram — but not for the crowds.
If it wasn’t posted to Instagram, did someone visit a place at
all? One could be forgiven for thinking that when it comes to
Greek islands. Some locals even say that to have an authentic
Greek experience you should avoid Santorini and Mykonos,
or any Greek island with an airport.
Ibiza is as legendary as ever — that includes the hordes of partiers.
Sun. Sand. Surf. Clubs. And crowds. Lots of crowds. What else is
new in Ibiza? These days, crowds are so intense, people are
recommending going to parts of the Spanish island that don’t have
bars and nightclubs.
Visiting Bali these days feels less and less as if you’re experiencing some of Indonesia’s many rich cultures.
There’s a joke among some people in Australia and New Zealand
that the Indonesian island of Bali is “Sydney North.” Ben
Traveller.com.au points out that it really can feel like that
in spots, where you seem just as likely to hear people saying
“g’day” and “kia ora” as you are to meet locals. There are still
places you can go to get away from it all, but it does take a bit
Machu Picchu was not “discovered” by Western explorers until 1911. Now, there’s a limit for how many people can visit a day.
When the American historian Hiram Bingham “discovered” Machu
Picchu in 1911,
according to National Geographic, he was thought to be the
first non-Indigenous person to see it. These days, so many people
do, that there’s a
limit of 2,500 tickets a day, according to the Inca Trail
Machu blog. They are good
for only four hours, do not allow re-entry, and cost $50 for
adults. At least
selfie sticks have been banned, as reported by the Peruvian
Everest also now has serious issues with overcrowding — issues that have become deadly.
“A limited number of days, too many people, too many
inexperienced people, inadequate support – those all things all
came together and that’s where we saw most of the deaths,” the
veteran climber and Mount Everest expert Alan Arnette, who has
studied the overcrowding issue for years,
told Business Insider earlier this year.
Eleven people died in this year’s climbing season on Everest –
and images posted to social media of huge line to reach the
summit shocked many people. But while hundreds of people now
reach the summit annually, many more just trek to Base Camp –
leaving several tons of garbage and human waste behind. In sum:
The world’s highest mountain is being desecrated.
Dubai is synonymous with glitz and glam — and lots of tourists.
As reported by Gulf
Business, Dubai is one of the world’s most visited cities and
leads everywhere in tourist spend (a whopping $553 a person a
day, almost double that of second-place Paris, where tourists
spend $296 a person a day).
But all those visitors spending all that money means personal
space can come at a premium – literally (as anyone who’s tried to
book a cabana or table at one of the emirate’s beach clubs can
attest). It remains to be seen how the much-hyped
Expo 2020 might affect things.
Petra, Jordan, once had an otherworldly feel, thanks to a starring role in an “Indiana Jones” movie. That’s not quite the case today.
The climax of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was filmed in
While it certainly is an impressive sight that can conjure
all kinds of treasure-hunting fantasies, a lot of other people
seem to have the same idea – crowds can be pushy, merchants even
pushier (not to mention price gouges), and overall it can feel
like anything but an escape from everyday life.
Venice, Italy, is the first place many people think of when they hear the word “overtourism.”
So many stories have been written about
overtourism and Venice that they’ve basically become
synonymous with each other in many people’s minds. Locals for
years have expressed fear of their city being turned into
according to DW Akademie.
Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne can get especially packed in the summer.
The word “crowded” features a lot in online reviews of Lucerne
and the surrounding area. According to Swissinfo it has been
a concern for a while, and it comes as no surprise the issue
is especially acute during the warmer summer months.
Portland, Oregon, is very different from the way it’s portrayed in “Portlandia.”
Yes, people sometimes do put birds on
things as they did in the cult IFC show “Portlandia.” But –
and this is coming from someone who grew up near the Rose City –
a lot of the things shown in the series stretch reality, to put
The problem is a large number of folks seem to think PDX really
is all about
honest folk music, quirky
coffee shops, and
dreaming of the ’90s. It’s not. If anything, you’ll see more
dads in Old
Navy than with piercings and tribal tattoos.
Dubrovnik, Croatia, has been inundated with “Game of Thrones” fans …
Dubrovnik was the filming location for King’s Landing in the
wildly popular HBO adaptation of “Game of Thrones” – and, not
unlike how Daenerys Targaryen’s army was able to storm the city,
real-life Dubrovnik is
struggling against the horde of smartphone and
One thing that’s been done is
capping the number of cruise ships allowed to dock each day,
The Independent reports. But it may be too little to win the
… just like how Forks, Washington, still gets swamped by “Twilight” devotees.
Having grown up nearby, I can say that Forks and the surrounding
Olympic Peninsula have an almost supernatural beauty – the
towering old growth forests, with the ground carpeted in soft,
moist moss, are just so unbelievably green.
A safety tip: While there are no vampires or werewolves (sorry to
disappoint), there are bears and cougars. And unlike a certain
Edward Cullen, they are not likely to fall in love with any
humans they encounter.
Burning Man is in danger of becoming burnt out, thanks to the crowds and commercialization.
As ever-increasing numbers of celebrities, the ultra-wealthy,
and even ordinary folks attend Burning Man each year in the
Nevada desert, there’s concern the event could be losing its way.
At the most recent edition,
a $100,000-a-ticket camp favored by influencers was banned,
following backlash from fellow attendees.
Berlin is “poor but sexy” — and also gentrifying.
Berlin is, as always, Berlin, and is “poor but sexy,” as former
Mayor Klaus Wowereit famously
declared. But more people want to experience Berlin to the
fullest – just look at how long the lines are these days to try
to get into Berghain. Rising rents and gentrification are also
killing the vibe – plus,
it’s hard to make money from a club.
While the Maldives are still gorgeous (and expensive), large numbers of tourists and climate change are threatening locals’ way of life.
The Maldives are now synonymous with luxury tropical escapes. But
all those fancy overwater bungalows are filled with tourists, not
local people. The Independent reports that
environmental impact is a concern, for one. And then there’s
the issue of climate change and rising sea levels –
many of the nation’s islands could be underwater before this
century ends, according to The Telegraph.
La Pelosa in northwestern Sardinia is so crowded, officials plan to start charging admission.
La Pelosa is one of the
world’s most beautiful beaches – and thus extremely crowded.
As many as 6,000 people visit the beach during the day in the
To counter the ever-growing influx,
CNN reports, officials in the town of Stintino (about 2 miles
away) plan to start charging visitors admission. Mayor Antonio
Diana said it’s expected to be about €4, or $4.40, to help cut
tourist numbers to roughly 1,500 visitors a day.
Maya Bay in Thailand, made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach,” has been closed because of overtourism.
Expected to be closed until 2021, Maya Bay was dealing with
up to 5,000 tourists a day, which the BBC
reports was harming native coral. In the Philippines, Boracay
was shut for similar reasons,
but it has since reopened.
Hallstatt, Austria, is another place that has drawn crowds because of Instagram.
As Insider’s Rachel Hosie wrote when she visited, Hallstatt
may look as if it’s straight out of “Frozen,” but she said:
“Despite the adorable buildings and natural scenery of Hallstatt,
I found it hard to enjoy it. I found myself craving space, peace,
and quiet, and was desperate to find somewhere not rammed with
India’s Taj Mahal is also struggling with a rising influx of international visitors.
To try to reduce overcrowding,
authorities introduced fines for people who stay at the Taj Mahal
Ticket prices have also been increased, according to CNN. But
the huge crowds and neglect means
the site is at risk.
Crowds converging on the set of Bronx stairs made famous by “Joker” are disrupting locals’ lives.
Not everyone is happy about the
large numbers of tourists stopping to pose for pictures on a
stairway that many Bronx locals use daily. Things have even
gotten testy at times: In October, someone was
filmed throwing eggs at people taking pictures at the
The Netherlands is a leader in promoting sustainability — so the “I amsterdam” sign was taken down to try to stem the tide of mass tourism.
Amsterdam’s “I amsterdam” sign was iconic – so much so, Dezeen
it was taken down in part because of concerns it was
encouraging mass tourism. In another move,
tours of Amsterdam’s well-known red-light district will be banned
starting in 2020.
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